April 22, 2020
Complexity increasingly is impacting the performance of both on-premises and cloud applications, and continues to be the biggest area of investment of time for IT organizations.
That’s according to Aryaka‘s fourth annual 2020 State of the WAN report. On-premises and cloud applications performance, impacted by network complexity at the edge and in the cloud, is the key enterprise concern this year for organizations implementing SD-WAN.
With COVID-19 shuttering enterprises globally and requiring remote operation, complexity has become even more of an issue. And problems with performance, impacting the cloud and remote workers, compounds the problem.
Remote worker issues are now front and center, and any WAN issues will take time away from solving these, according to Aryaka. It becomes even more challenging when IT is remote. They require visibility tools to be effective.
On-premises and cloud applications complexity replaces cost as the No. 1 concern, followed by slow on-premises performance and slow access to cloud and SaaS apps. Security and long deployment times also are among top concerns.
Aryaka’s David Ginsburg
David Ginsburg is Aryaka‘s vice president of product and solutions marketing. He said anything partners can do to work with their customers to reduce WAN complexity with a goal of increasing performance is important.
“And they need to decrease the complexity and increase performance not only at the branches and headquarters, but also for the hand off into the cloud because that’s where more and more data and applications are, and they need to have that performance for remote workers,” he said. “And in all of these environments, it has to be done securely and it has to be done in a way that frees up IT from constantly going back into tactical mode because their entire time is taken up troubleshooting some of these connectivity, complexity and collaboration application issues.”
UCaaS is still challenging to deploy globally, and once again, complexity is the culprit. Setup and management is the No. 1 challenge for voice and video. This highlights the need for managed solutions that hide the complexity.
Lag/delay was a close second, which illustrates network performance issues. This was followed by dropped calls.
“The challenges in UCaaS go up year by year,” Ginsburg said. “One of the interesting things is instead of looking at the problems that they see, IT is more cognizant of what the root cause is, and in this case they identify setup and management, so anything that can be done to alleviate this issue as part of the WAN infrastructure is a win-win for IT.”
Most enterprises surveyed this year are using more than 10 SaaS applications, 51% in 2020 versus 23% in 2019. In terms of where these SaaS apps are hosted, it’s a multi-cloud world, with AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, Oracle and Alibaba Cloud all well represented.
Enterprises are continuing to increase the number of applications deployed. A growing number of companies are deploying more than 100 applications.
To address increased complexity and the time spent managing the WAN, enterprises are undergoing major initiatives that include automation, cloud and newer areas of interest such as IoT, AI/ML and blockchain.
On the cloud front, regardless of company size, upgrades and management are important, as well as a keen interest in 5G. This last initiative reflects the interest in 5G as a future primary connectivity option for SD-WAN. Respondents identified cloud upgrades and management as top networking initiatives. Forty-two percent of respondents also named 5G as a top initiative for this year.
Buyers are at various stages of their SD-WAN evaluation, but most are …
… still gathering information or evaluating vendors. Forty-four percent of respondents are gathering information, 23% are evaluating SD-WAN vendors, 11% are building a business case, 13% are in the middle of deploying, 6% have deployed and assumed to be happy while just 2% are deployed, but not happy.
The top three potential SD-WAN barriers include application performance, knowledge gaps and complexity. Overall, cost seems less a consideration this year versus performance and complexity, with SD-WAN ROI now better understood and valued.
Cloud and WAN optimization are still key requirements to a successful SD-WAN solution, but network functions virtualization (NFV), support for remote workers and the desire for a managed service have grown substantially. Add in security, and all of these features are key to a successful SD-WAN deployment.
The desire for a fully managed SD-WAN also increased to 37% in 2020 from 28% last year. This aligns with a growing acceptance for managed offerings, likely in response to the increasing complexities and challenges.
Eighty-seven percent of respondents said they would consider a managed SD-WAN as compared to 59% in 2019.
“Knowing where IT is investing in terms of investing in cloud connectivity, in the last mile and in security, and investing in SD-WAN with an understanding that there are a number of different service components there, [partners] need to become the trusted adviser to the enterprise as part of this WAN transformation investment,” Ginsburg said. “And it can’t only be boxes and it can’t only be the metal, it needs to be the software and the services component as well.”
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